Many of you have been asking about our future plans. Stop. Just kidding, but really, we will definitely shout the news from the rooftops when we know anything at all. Here is what we do know. We are not candidating with Pauma Valley anymore--that was a mutual decision between us and them. It is frusturating. It is difficult to find a church that really wants a real pastor for their youth, who will teach the students and give them a firm foundation in their faith for the rest of their lives. It seems that many churches, even those who want discipleship for their adults, don't think it "works" with students. I say, ask our students. What do they remember about their years with Dan as their youth pastor and people like Mark, Audrey, Scotty and Mike as their small group leaders? They remember gaining a deep understanding of Scripture--not all the details, not everything perfectly filled in--but a firm grasp of God and His Word that they have been able to take into college and life and develop and apply. I am so proud of our students, to a kid. They have followed their own paths, and have kept Jesus as the core of their life. Amazing.
Anyway, because of that we are limited in our job search. We both strongly feel we still should work with youth. It's funny that not many, actually, hardly any guys graduate from seminary and want to be a youth pastor. So many people feel it is a stepping stone to other pastor positions. Not us. We will gladly work with youth until it is clear we are not supposed to anymore. Recently, because of the awesome church we are attending, we have developed a heart for church planting. It's not at all what I used to think it was (why plant a church if there are already churches, right?) and if you want to know what I mean just ask me.
There is a church we are talking with in CA. We are very excited about the possibilities with this church and specifically with the senior pastor. He is a very real, honest, genuine man who loves the Lord and loves serving in his church. He and Dan clicked well the first time they met. What is interesting about him is that his training has been very practical, hands on training. Dan's schooling is very heady, theology stuff. Dan's practical training has come from 7 years of being a pastor and just as much from the year here, not being a pastor. We have learned so much here this year, attending a church and meeting what needs we can, not in a formal capacity. Dan is excited at the possibility of learning from him and ministering side by side with him. They are different in good ways, and alike in important ways. Very exciting possibility.
Our weekly schedule is crazier than I had planned, but it's fun. Gabe and his buddy Jackson take Karate on Wednesday mornings, and then they go with Mckenna and Madisyn to AWANA Wednesday nights. Gabe loves both. Loves them. And, he has this amazing ability to memorize his weekly verses for AWANA Cubbies. Not only can he tell you this weeks verse, but all the previous ones as well! Mckenna takes Karate at a different place two times a week, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, or Saturday morning if we miss one. She has homework Monday-Thursday nights, and is trying hard to memorize her AWANA stuff, though it is not coming as easily for her as it does for Gabe--probably because her head is already full from school! She is doing remarkably well at Kindergarten. I am in her classroom every Monday and she is a gem. She pays attention, doesn't talk to her friends in class (that is surprising), and does her work well. We are super, super proud of her.
I watch Jackson every Tuesday morning. He is a sweet, charming, well-behaved little boy, and the two boys have tons of fun together, despite their little arguments over toys. It's good for me to have him here. I stay home, and I get a lot done around the house. We try to do a little preschool each week--sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.
And then there are essays. Sigh. They are going well, but slow. I have previously mentioned that The Great Gatsby is not my favorite book. It's stuck in my head now. Seriously, I am so thankful for this job. What other job would provide me the opportunity to intereact with High School Students (albeit on paper), stay home with my babies, and earn some money? They are just all consuming when I have them. This week Dan has figured out a way to give me two hours each day (Sunday and Monday so far) of uninterupted time. That has helped.
On Saturday my sweet friend Melissa forced Dan and me to go out on a date without the kids. Her words were, "Go home, get cute, and bring me your kdis." We did, and it was wonderful. We saw Bourne Ultimatum. Awesome movie.
This week is my sweet girl's 6th birthday. Wow. 6 years old. She is very grown up these days. One day after she had played with a little boy in her class his mom asked him what he thought about playing with Mckenna. He shyly replied, "I like her, and she is awfully pretty." His mom sweetly related this story to me, and I found it adorable. Dan, however, sighed the sigh of a protective Father and said, "So, it's begun."
Kenna and I are going to Disneyland on Friday (her actual birthday) with Melissa and Madisyn. On Saturday family and the Smiths are coming to celebrate her special day. Yea! We love having all the family over!
That's what is new. Dan is still right on track to graduate in December. Yea. That is a wonderful relief. We can't wait for that day.
Once there is any news, I will post it right here!